One of my favorite things to do when I travel is visit local grocery stores. These spaces are often the best way to learn about the similarities and differences of local culture.
In France, the wine selection goes on for days and days. Sometimes there is even a wine cellar. The wine is all dirt cheap (think $2-3 a bottle for something that would easily cost $25-30 in the States), and very good.
The French also love smoked salmon, apparently, because never in my life have I seen such a selection of that particular item.
In Italy, what’s not on the shelves is interesting: peanut butter. While you may find familiar labels (Nivea, Dove, Nestle) on the shelves, peanut butter of any brand has not infiltrated Italian culture.
In Iceland, I found a variety of dried fish, candy that tasted like menthol, and skeins of wool right there near the cash registers.
In Japan, a four-pack of peaches cost $20. A lot of fruit has to be imported, so the prices reflect that.
One thing I have noticed in particular is that in European countries, eggs are found on a non-refrigerated shelf. I was happy to have the opportunity to explore why when invited to write an article about it for moneysmartfamily.com. The short version as to why some cultures refrigerate their eggs and some do not lies in how we approach managing salmonella. The chickens, and the eggs, are essentially the same.
I hope you enjoy reading about the cultural differences of egg storage. Please share the differences you have found with grocery store food when traveling!